Cover photo for Mike Yale's Obituary
Mike Yale Profile Photo

Mike Yale

d. April 23, 2015

The free spirit known as Michael Yale slipped away on April 23, 2015, after two weeks in the Huntsville Memorial Hospital. He was partner, friend and lover to Marcia, beloved father and father-in-law of Norman and Heather Burke-Yale, and Buffie Hoye and Travis Silber, grandfather of Xander, son-in-law of Dasha and Sam Vinsky, brother-in-law of Debbi Accettura (Brian), handler of guide dog, Narella, and uncle of many nieces and nephews on both sides. He will also be missed by aunts and cousins on his wife's side, as well as his two step-sisters and their families, many long-time friends and his two surviving former wives, Doreen Tyler and Jo-Anne Yale. He was pre-deceased by his father, Julius Yale, mother, Rosalind Cooklin, step-father, Jules, first wife, Lettie, and brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Carole Yale. Michael lived his life according to his own desires. He was supposed to complete his studies and become a lawyer. Instead, he was a concert pianist, pig farmer, radio programme director, community organizer, pet-shop owner, human rights investigator, entrepreneur and twice-published author. He was a fearless traveller, accompanied by five guide dogs over 54 years, though his days as a mountain goat were cut short by a stroke in late 2009. He was a tireless advocate for disadvantaged and disabled people, working for the ODSP Action Coalition, the Huntsville Accessibility Advisory Committee (as its chair), and many similar organizations throughout his life. On February 28, 1975, he co-founded BOOST, the Blind Organization of Ontario with Selfhelp Tactics, and was part of the coalition who secured the inclusion of disability-specific discrimination grounds in Ontario‘s human rights Code. When he was not advocating for human rights, he was making people laugh through public speaking engagements and as a member of the Woodshed Improv Collective. During the seven years we shared, five of them as my husband, he gave me his deepest friendship and love, not only when my moments were high but when they were low; not only when I remembered clearly who I was but when I forgot; not only when I was acting with love but when I was not. It was his intention to be with me forever in an eternal partnership of the soul, sharing all that was good within us with all whose lives we touched. I hope he knew how hard I tried to do likewise and I know that, because of Michael, I have become the person I longed to be. He was an inspiration to countless people with and without disabilities, an unforgettable man who remained true to his personal, political and social beliefs until the end. He will be sorely missed, and his passing brings an end to an era.

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